The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass
This Zelda title had me incredibly excited for the year that happened between the time I heard about its development and its release date. However, a few months before launch I learned something that filled my heart with dread — the entire game would be stylus-controlled. Developer’s attempt at this in the past had left a bad taste in my mouth, and I couldn’t bear the thought of Link being subjected to the whims of my stylus for all those hours.
Despite my preconceptions, I bought the game. I’ve played all of the installments in the franchise through to completion (except for the CDi versions – don’t even get me started on those) and I didn’t see any reason Phantom Hourglass should be different. I’m pleased to say I made the right decision. What Phantom Hourglass ended up being was one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I’ve had on the DS.
The story for TLoZ: Phantom Hourglass follows the same tried and true Zelda formula: boy meets girl, girl gets snatched by an epic menace, boy sets out to save the girl and saves the entire world in the process. There were some mildly humorous moments that were out of the ordinary, but nicely done.
I’m not normally one to coo over graphics, but I’m including a mention here because they’re incredible. Say what you will about “jaggies” and such, this is the best stuff I’ve seen on the DS.
Once you learn to hold the stylus in a way that keeps your hand off of the screen, controlling Link was smooth and natural. Slashing enemies with the stylus was almost as tactile of an experience as using the Wii remote for Twilight Princess on the Wii. New spins on old weapons made combat a lot of fun — especially the new hammer, which finally puts the blabber-mouthed faerie that follows Link around to good use.
If you’re looking for something truly “next gen” in a handheld action adventure title, then look no further. Pick up a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.